What sparked your interest in education? How did you end up working with CPET?
After being a high school classroom teacher for 15 years in my native South Africa and then coming to the USA, I was struck by the similar struggles teachers experienced. I started working at a non-profit as the Youth Coordinator; which took me back into the public schools. I watched as teachers were challenged by a host of scenarios, not the least including classroom management and adequate curriculum and lesson planning. I decided to go back to school to pursue a PhD. I stayed in my discipline of teaching English and as my degree progressed I was offered opportunities through my program to do professional development with CPET. It's the proverbial match made in Heaven for me, which is an ability to grow as an educator, to help teachers grow in their own practices and together to tackle challenges that is faced by the teaching corps with the parameters set out by local and national government.
What are your current research interests and current projects?
I am interested in Publication - in its many forms; both student and teacher. I am a Zankel Fellow with SPI - currently working on the GED Plus publication for Spring 2014. With SLI, I am working with 3 high schools doing whole staff PDs and individual observation and mentoring. My personal research interests for my dissertation work looks at narrative inquiry around Black Masculinities in the the teaching corp of the NYC TFA program.
How does CPET seek educational equity while navigating complicated mandates and policy shifts?
It's my belief that CPET works within the structures of the DOE to offer support and structure for the NYC schools we serve. Although we work within the mandated structure, we are innovative and creative about how we offer support to the teachers and schools we serve by being ahead of the game and on top of our information so that we can best support our teachers. We are reflective in our practice and always try to be bigger and better, with a leadership that is second to none. Because we are always aiming to be truly supportive, offering tailored -by school, by individual teacher- PD and mentoring; we seek educational equity for students and teachers while still navigating the mandates and policy shifts that come down from the DOE.
If your life was a movie, what genre would it be, who would play you, and what is one song you want on the soundtrack?
It would definitely be a comedy - maybe film noire comedy, but definitely a laugh out loud kind of depiction - with epic fails, and unimaginable feats of valor - which is much like my real life. I am thinking Halle Berry to play me - she has my dream body and I think she is full-on crazy - pretty much like me. A song on the soundtrack would be Aretha Franklin's "A Rose is Still a Rose."
If you could choose one word to summarize CPET's philosophy what would it be?